Pittsburg State University ROTC has a tradition of success in the Ranger Buddy Challenge, a grueling test of cadets’ physical and mental toughness. They extended that tradition recently, coming in a close second at the University of Kansas Ranger Buddy Challenge where they competed against 130 teams from 30 universities.

The Ranger Buddy Challenge is designed to be tough, beginning with a 15-kilometer road march at 4:30 a.m. and ending with a 2.5-mile run at 5 p.m. In between, the cadets cycle through seven events that are designed to assess basic skills under duress. For the competition, there were eight events for each of the three divisions. PSU teams took first place in seven events

Lt. Col. Chris Lambert, chairman of the Military Science Department at PSU, said he was proud of the way the Pitt State students represented the university and the Gorilla Battalion.

“We sent a total of six, two-cadet teams,” Lambert said. “Four of the teams were all-male, one of the teams was all female and one was co-ed. Our all-female team placed second overall in their division.”

In addition, one of the all-male teams placed second in their division, another placed eighth and a third placed 21st. The co-ed team placed fourth overall.

Lambert said the PSU squads nearly took the top spot, tying host KU for first place, but losing the tie-breaker by just one point.

Some of the other universities in the competition were the University of Oklahoma, the University of Colorado, the University of Arkansas, the University of Missouri, the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, the University of Nebraska, Central Missouri State University, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, Missouri Science and Technology, Missouri Western State University, the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, and the University of Northern Iowa.

PSU’s success at Ranger Buddy Challenge is especially notable, according to Lambert, when the competition includes some of the largest and best known universities in the Midwest.

• All-female team – Lexi Skaggs/Kada Barbour, 2nd place out of 13 teams

• All-male team – Paul Hartfield/Keith Weaver, 2nd place out of 88 teams

• All-male team – Hal Rivard/Andrew Thomas, 8th place out of 88 teams

• All-male team – Adam McDonald/Sean Gilbert, 21st place out of  88 teams

• Co-ed team – Kristina Willis/John Fatkin, 4th place out of 17 teams

Student coaches for the competition were Jared Beachner, Mason Johnson, Stephen Cuff, Clayton Argyle and Ethan Clouse.